Proxy elitism by economists

I have often suggested here that a key characteristic of mainstream economics is its fundamental distaste for democracy. We read it in the way in which economics pours scorn on government – even democratic government – as an automatic and inevitable problem in the achievement of efficiency, whatever that is. The anti-social bias is palpable. Yet most economists scoff at the thought.

But say it often enough, say it loudly enough, and, especially, say it with the authority of a scholarly background and the damage can be awful.

You might just make a Trump legitimate.

Ideas matter. We all acknowledge that. From where I sit economics has a lot to answer for. Polanyi was right, and that really matters. [Link]

The full post by Peter Radford is well worth a read. It is not too long.

Independent of the Trump phenomenon, the first paragraph about economists and their ‘disdain for democracy’ is very well made. Their fetish for monetary policy as opposed to fiscal policy is another form of elitism by proxy.


One thought on “Proxy elitism by economists

  1. Dear Ananth,

    At least a part of the rise of Trump can be explained by the constant and pervasive thought-policing that goes on in the USA under the name of political correctness, and has virtually nothing to do with economics as such. At public universities, traditional Humanities departments such as English, French, German etc. have been stagnant, but new-fangled “”victimhood studies” departments are on the rise. If you are a “Professor of victimhood studies” (and it does not matter in the least who the alleged victims are), the only way to safeguard your interests is to be a total a$$hole, constantly sitting in judgement on your fellow human beings, ever ready to pounce on them for transgressions real and imaginary, and in general vitiating the overall atmosphere. It also requires you to shout down all others’ viewpoints while shutting yourself away in “safe places” and the like. It is hardly surprising that most US tax payers are now quite reluctant to fund public education. Only we Indians are still stupid enough to fund useless social studies subjects at great expense to taxpayers, AND to force productive engineering students to pay 500 times more fees than useless social studies students (Rs. 1 lakh at the IITs versus Rs. 200 annual fees at JNU), AND to put no time limit on stipends (five years at the IITS versus apparently no limit at JNU). Even in India the situation cannot last. One can only guess at what the denouement would be.

    Best wishes.



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